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Schedule Semantics: The Winnipeg Jets In October

One of the highlights of the summer is the release of the NHL schedule for the upcoming year. While this doesn’t carry the same hype as the draft or free agency, it builds the anticipation of fans across the globe and gives them a date to look forward to. Once the schedule is released, fans can start counting down the sleeps until hockey is back.

Some parts of the schedule have already been examined as I viewed the Jets calendar during the summer and Art recently took a look at some of the biggest dates to circle on your calendar.

This series will run near the beginning of every month and will look at the upcoming month for the Jets. We will look at the road trips, home-stands, opponents, as well as days off to see what the Jets are up against in the month ahead.

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With the season nearly upon us, we shall begin with the month of October.

The Jets begin their season with a two game road trip where they play in St. Louis on the 4th and Dallas on the 6th. This is a tricky start to the season as St. Louis made a big splash in the off-season bringing in multiple impact players like Bozak and O’Reilly. The Stars are no pushover either as they boast one of the best lines in hockey with Seguin, Radulov, and Benn.

While the games might be tough, some people argue that it’s better to start the season on the road as team bonding is easier and the distractions are limited. Just ask the Vancouver Canucks who recently banned video games on the road.

The Jets will return home in the second week of October and play their first home game on the 9th against the Los Angeles Kings. This is also a promo night for the Jets as they are giving away Trouba bobbleheads.

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The home-stand will be short lived as the Jets immediately make their way to Nashville for a rematch against the team they knocked out of the playoffs last season. Look for added intensity against the Predators as both teams will be itching to prove themselves after last years battle in the playoffs.

Once the Jets come home from Nashville they get to stay in Winnipeg for a long time as they have their longest homestand of the year spanning 11 days and 6 games. After this lengthy stay at home, the month will wrap up on October 26th and 27th when the Jets play their first back to back set of the year in Detroit, then in Toronto the next day. The Jets get a few days off at the end of the month as they make their way across the ocean to Finland where they begin the month of November against the Panthers as part of the NHL Global Series.

Breakdown

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When looking at this schedule, it seems like a very friendly first month. This is ideal for the Jets because it allows them to get off to a hot start, especially if they cruise through the homestand. The Jets could very well find themselves near the top of the division with everyone else chasing them at the end of the month. While some people argue that it doesn’t matter how you start, rather how you finish, others would say that two points in October is worth the same as two points in March.

Not only do the Jets get their longest homestand of the year, but they also don’t have to play a back to back set until the very end of October. This allows the players plenty of time to get into game shape before playing their first games on consecutive days.

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Winnipeg seems to have a fairly light schedule in regards to competition as well. Their opponents had a combined record of 395-332-93 last season. While this record isn’t too bad, it’s definitely skewed by some of the better teams like Nashville and Toronto. In terms of how these teams finished last year, the Jets are only playing three teams that made the playoffs last season.

The last thing to mention about the Jets schedule is the Central Division opponents. The Jets begin their season with three out of their first four games against teams in their own division. This magnifies the results even more as the Jets don’t want to fall behind their divisional rivals early in the year. The Jets also play a number of Pacific Division teams which make eight of their twelve games in October against teams in the Western Conference.

Now that we have examined what the Jets are doing and how difficult their schedule is, the only thing left to do is to sit back and enjoy the games.